Disclaimer: It's obvious, isn't it? I don't own Persuasion.

Summary: This story takes place before "Can You Change The Past?" Basically it's Anne's musings after a hard day at work. You will find the reason why she chose her job. Enjoy!

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, not exactly. It was night alright. And it was dark. But there was no storm. Anne Elliot kind of wished there was, so her mind would not be so numb. A light rain was indeed tapping on the car windows, and she was gazing at the darkness beyond. Her head, resting on the headrest, was turned to the left. On her right was Cassie, her trusted assistant. The younger girl was sleeping soundly. No wonder, their last job was the most exhausting so far. Their client, a rock star, wanted a wedding more extravagant than his previous weddings (three in total). And since his last ex-wife's wedding, six months earlier, had been named one of the most romantic weddings of the year – according to Celeb News Magazine – he demanded something bigger, more romantic, and more luxurious. He wanted a wedding party as huge as his ego. Thankfully, his bank account was just as huge.

After years of experience as a wedding planner, Anne could predict who would be together "til death do they part," and who would scream alimony before the ink on the marriage papers was even dry. Sadly most couples fell into the latter group.

So why spend so much? She surmised that some people wanted a grand wedding party, and came dangerously close to obsessing about it, to convince themselves that they would be married happily ever after. The bigger the wedding, the happier they would be. Or so they thought.

Anne sighed. She turned a little to address the driver in front of her, "Fred, how long do you think before we reach home?"

Fred answered, "About two hours, Ma'am." His eyes never left the road.

She flopped back against her seat. Cassie was still asleep. Anne turned again to the window on her left. She couldn't see anything outside except water trickling down the window. Fred kept a medium speed because of the wet road. He always said, "Safety first." The only time he had driven like a maniac through red lights was when he had had his pregnant wife at the back seat.

Anne's thoughts wandered back to a time that felt like it was just yesterday; but at the same time felt so long ago, dinosaurs still roamed the earth. It was the time when she thought she would live happily ever after with her prince charming, Eric Wentworth. They had been together for two years when they started talking about marriage. They had been young, yes, and they hadn't had any money. But being young had made them optimistic that they would overcome their monetary problems.

Anne had been all smiles when she had broken the news to her father and older sister. Her little sister, Mary, had been at prep school in Switzerland then. Sir Walter Elliot had done nothing but looked cold and uncaring. Elizabeth had sneered at her, exclaiming no unworthy boy was going to marry an Elliot. Her mother had passed away five years earlier, so she had turned to the closest thing to a mother for her, Lady Russell, for advice. Her mother's best friend hadn't said anything against Eric, but she had persuaded Anne to think about the difficulties and dangers of marrying at such a young age with no money. The fact that Anne still had been in college and Eric had only been a struggling actor hadn't helped.

Anne had considered elopement; but after her mother's death, she had sworn she would put family first. She had not wanted to do anything that would hurt them. So she had broken her engagement to Eric, telling him that he would be better without her to tie him down. She had convinced herself that what she had done had been for the best.

Who could have been in doubt of what would happen next? Eric had left angrily to pursue an acting career in London, and Anne had gone to the States to continue her studies.

Sure, some fellow students, and even a teacher, had tried to be more than friends, but she had always felt there was something lacking. Yes, they had been smart, had had a sense of humor, had been kind; and some had been really good looking. But they had not been Eric Wentworth. She felt she could never marry any other man but him, even if it meant she was going to be a spinster her whole life. That was why she had chosen the wedding business. If she couldn't be a bride, she would give a bride the most wonderful and memorable day of her life.

Cassie stirred and opened her eyes. Groggily she asked, "Where are we?" Not waiting for an answer, she continued, "I had the strangest dream."

Anne knew Cassie would tell her all about the "strange dream." After that, she would analyze it and ask Anne's opinion. The discussion would surely last for the remainder of the trip. So Anne left her window and turned her attention to the girl sitting next to her.


A/N: This story has tons of past perfect tenses. Thankfully Mockingbyrd's Tune was willing to beta my fic. So all those "had" and "had been" verbs were in their right places. Please review. I love getting feedbacks on my work.